It can be used to help children learn a variety of languages and is designed to teach them in a lot of different ways.
What The Children Do
Children select a language to learn from a list of options which includes; English, French, Spanish and Italian among others.
They then work through a series of questions that help them learn the correct way of writing and speaking that language. They start off with the basics such as “A boy” and “An Apple” (or the equivalent in another language) and gradually progress onto more difficult terms and words.
It’s a great tool for helping an EAL child learn to speak English because they can learn the basic words and vowel sounds at a speed comfortable to them. It has a lot of pictures to help provide children with context as well, deepening their understanding of the language.
There are a lot of different words to learn and children could basically learn a whole curriculum using this app.
Children can answer a lot of different types of questions to help develop their language skills including; matching words and pictures, reading sentences into a microphone, typing words that they hear and selecting the correct word from a list.
There’s a huge range of activities to help the children progress.
Whenever they feel they’ve completed a set of words (they’re divided into categories like animals and houses etc) they can take a test to check the understanding. This is useful because it allows you to identify any progress they’re making or identify any areas they need to work on.
How It Works
Whenever a child is tasked with answering a question related to speech, they simply have to click the microphone icon (a large blue circle with a microphone in the centre) and speak at the iPad.
Children tap the space where they’re entering their answer and then use the touch keypad to type their answer in.
Children will occasionally have to use the on-screen touch keypad to answer these questions but will mostly just have to select an answer from a list of possible options.
Why Its Good
The best thing about this app is that it’s designed to teach a language.
I know that seems pretty obvious, but I feel it’s literally just designed to teach a language – no tricks or add-ons. I love the modern and child-friendly feel of the app and I especially love the different style of questioning which helps people to develop their understanding of a language in both verbal and written form.
As a teacher, you can set a specific time limit that each child can spend learning a language per day such as 5 minutes or 10 minutes and the app will tailor the learning to this time limit. This is very useful for EAL children who can use the app at the start of the day, before lunch or during assembly time because the app will give them short bursts of questions to answer and help them progress.
It’s designed to help people progress at their own rate which is fantastic for children because it means they’re always going to be challenged and making progress.
I cannot recommend Duolingo highly enough. If you’re seriously interested in teaching a language or helping EAL children progress, then you absolutely need Duolingo in your school.